Many holiday celebrations happen at dinner time. Many recipes therefor are for dinner meals. What about lunchtime recipes? This festive cranberry pecan chicken salad is a perfect choice for your lunchtime festivities!
This post was originally posted in December 2015.
I love to add different ingredients to chicken salad. Sweet and salty combos are the best! This particular recipe is perfect for the holidays not only because of the flavor, but also the colors.
Most of our family holiday celebrations happen at dinner time. Rarely are we together for lunch. On Christmas Day we are usually driving around lunchtime between my hubby's parent's home and my parent's home. We eat breakfast so late at my in-law's house there is no way lunch is going to be consumed. But what if you have a gathering at lunchtime and want salads and sandwiches instead of hot food?
Combining the flavors of the holiday and winter season is a great option. What says Fall/Winter more than cranberries and pecans? These ingredients also add an interesting texture and flavor combination to chicken salad. The colors are pretty too, which is a bonus.
- You can easily make chicken salad with a store-made rotisserie chicken or cook your own chicken.
- I cook chicken breast in chicken broth over the stovetop, slow cooker, or oven.
- This batch only used two large chicken breasts, but you can get about 8-10 ½ cup servings out of the recipe.
- You can use Greek yogurt in place of half the mayonnaise in order to decrease the fat content.
- You can use reduced sugar dried cranberries to decrease the sugar content.
Here are a few other lunchtime suggestions in addition to Cranberry Pecan Chicken Salad that your guest will enjoy:
Caprese Salad is simple to make with only 4 ingredients. This salad is low in carbs and rich in protein.
Strawberry Spinach Salad is festive as well. Fresh spinach with juicy strawberries and sweet pecans. The colors of the season!
Cranberry Pecan Chicken Salad
- 2 large chicken breasts cooked and shredded
- 2 stalks of celery diced
- ½ cup chopped onion
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- ½ cup chopped pecans
- ¾ cup low calorie mayonnaise or mayonnaise of your choice
- ⅛ teaspoon salt optional
- ⅛ teaspoon pepper
- In a large bowl combine chicken, celery, onion, cranberries, and pecans.
- Stir to combine.
- Add into chicken salad mayonnaise, salt, and pepper.
- Mix well.
- Serve on a bed of lettuce or on whole grain bread.
How to Serve Chicken Salad
- Make sandwiches ahead of time using a crusty roll, pumpernickel, or whole-grain bread. For a lower carb version serve on individual plates with a bed of lettuce.
- For guests serving themselves serve in a large serving bowl and make sure you have the proper serving spoon!
- This dish pairs well with a side salad.
I prefer chicken salad served on a bed of lettuce, but don't mind a good roll or toasted wheat bread either. How do you enjoy chicken salad? Let me know in the comments below.
Similar recipes you may enjoy!
Protein-packed leftover turkey salad
Paige Wolf says
Yum! I would do this with avocado mayo!
Lauren @ Hall Nesting says
Love the festive take on a classic!
Des @ Life's Ambrosia says
I love this twist on chicken salad! The cranberries add fun color!
Ramona W says
I love the crunch and sweet with this savory chicken salad!! I would love it. 🙂
Nutmeg Nanny says
I love pecans in my chicken salad to I would be all over this. Plus cranberries...oh yes!
Cynthia/What A Girl Eats says
I love any kind of chicken salad with chicken, nuts and fruit! This is a winner for me!
Julie @ Willow Bird Baking says
I LOVE cranberries in chicken salad! Yum!!
HAVE ALREADY MADE THIS FOUR TIMES,!
I had never made chicken salad but this looked delicious so I bravely made it doubting very much my husband would like it! Well, he LOVES IT!!! He has requested it a couple times now. We just eat about half cup to a cup out of a little bowl or with ritz crackers. I also add a half an apple. I slice it about 1/8 inch thick, cut slices in half lengthwise then finely chop it and mix in! It's better if it sits all day or overnight!
Jennifer Lynn-Pullman says
So glad you like the recipe, Julie. Thanks for the comment.
Wedding DJ Plano says
Chicken salad is my fav! I love adding fruit and nuts to it – such a great combo. I can’t wait to try your version!
Beth Ann says
This recipe is GREAT!! As another reviewer mentioned, I also added some apple and we can't make this often enough!! Love!!
This will be one I'll make over and over! I like others added apple as well, but this would be great without it as well. Thank you for sharing!
Virginia Ferrari says
Looking for a nice "clean" chicken salad recipe to do for a New Year's Eve lunch and this recipe was perfect with simple no nonsense ingredients! I boiled the chicken breasts the night before and made the salad in the morning. I am allergic to berries, so used chopped cherries instead. A little too much onion for me, but it was really good and even better the next day. This recipe is a keeper and next time I would make it a day ahead to let the flavors mingle overnight Delish!.
Gloria Adams says
I don't use salt cause I use cashews they have their own salt on them